At its September meeting, the New Jersey State Board of Education heard updates and acted on the following items:
Return of Jersey City to local control: After more than 30 years of state control, the Jersey City School District regained full local control. The New Jersey Department of Education determined that Jersey City had met nearly all benchmarks to return to local control. In its unanimous resolution, the State Board of Education noted that the district had actually had partial control over certain aspects of the district since 2007. The resolution also noted that the recommendation for the return of local control was backed by highly skilled professionals that Rutgers University hired at the behest of the NJDOE, to evaluate the district performance. The highly skilled professionals determined that the district was ready to resume full local control. In a separate resolution, the State Board of Education also certified the school district as a highly performing district under the NJQSAC evaluation system.
State Special Education Advisory Council: The State Board of Education approved several appointments to the State Special Education Advisory Council. Federal law requires that the advisory council (i) advise the New Jersey Department of Education of unmet needs in the education of children with disabilities within the state; (ii) comment publicly on any rules or regulations proposed by the department regarding the education of children with disabilities; (iii) advise the department in developing evaluations and reporting data to the secretary of the United States Department of Education; (iv) advise the department in developing corrective action plans to address findings identified in federal monitoring reports under this part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and (v) advise the department in developing and implementing policies relating to the coordination of services for children with disabilities.
Educator preparation and certification regulations: The State Board of Education continued its discussions on updating the regulations concerning educator preparation and certification. The amendments proposed at N.J.A.C. 6A:9 and at N.J.A.C. 6A:9A,6A:9B, and 6A:9C in separate, simultaneous rulemakings are intended to provide options to certain candidates for an instructional certificate. The proposed amendments also will implement a number of recently enacted state laws that created new endorsements for instructional certificates or altered the requirements for existing endorsements,